Memo from the Manager
It is an enduring truth of government that the function of legislating and administrating any public entity requires a lot of paperwork.
Or, at least it used to.
The 21st century rewrite of that statement is that government requires a lot of "documentation." And, while it is common fodder for pundits and pollsters to characterize government as a process mired in a sea of paper, or red tape, the fact is looking after the people's business requires attention to detail and that requires documentation. You deserve no less.
So, by that reckoning, yes, government does require pages upon pages of material for various forms and functions.
However, more and more today those pages are "virtual."
A recent newspaper article used a bit of sarcasm in describing many cities' use of iPads for staff and elected officials. "Want a free iPad? Run for elected office." Well, there's much more to it than that. Ten years ago, preparation for a Council meeting involved killing a small forest with agenda packets that were hundreds of pages, copied several dozen times for Council and staff. Then, Farmers Branch wrote its own paperless agenda system, preserving the trees and sending out documentation on CDs for display on City-issued laptops, costing several thousand dollars.
Now, in Farmers Branch, the CDs and the laptops have been replaced by iPads (which cost significantly less than the laptops). Are iPads cool and trendy? Perhaps. Are they phenomenally utilitarian, amazingly cost-effective and very easy to use? Absolutely. That makes the iPad the right tool for the job.
Beyond that, our sea of paper is gradually diminishing with an ongoing records-management project where files and paperwork are systematically being converted to electronic format. We'll eventually replace a closet full of filing cabinets with a small server, about the size of your home computer.
In addition to the savings in equipment, staff time, training and copier maintenance, Farmers Branch is saving an average of 125,000 sheets of paper every year.
How many trees is that?
FARMERS BRANCH ~ The Farmers Branch City Council will meet in special session on Monday, August 22, at Farmers Branch City Hall, for a workshop to consider the fiscal year 2011-2012 proposed budget.
That meeting is set for 3 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
The budget workshop, along with all regular Council meetings, will air live on FBTV, cable channel 16 in Farmers Branch, AT&T Uverse Channel 99 throughout the DFW Metroplex and online at www.farmersbranch.info. The budget workshop will be replayed on FBTV at 8 p.m. seven nights a week between August 22 and the Council meeting of September 6.
Farmers Branch City Hall is located at 13000 William Dodson Parkway. Call 972.247.3131 for more information.
Access the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Proposed Budget
|Refinancing StarCenter bond dollars makes good sense|
FARMERS BRANCH ~ Seizing an opportunity to save more than $1.6 million in interest, the Farmers Branch City Council on Tuesday authorized the refinance of the 2004 combination bonds originally used to build the Dr Pepper StarCenter.
The action issues up to $7.25 million in refinance bonds that effectively lowers the interest rate to an average expected 4.22 percent. Current rates on the 2004 bonds ranges from 4.95 to 5.8 percent. After deducting issuance costs, the City's total gross interest savings could total more than $1.6 million.
Farmers Branch Finance Director Charles Cox said rental income of $660,000 per year from the Dallas Stars, on the Dr Pepper StarCenter lease, pays the entire debt service on the bonds. The refinanced bonds will not only save in interest payments but reduce the maturity on the certificates from 2029 to 2027.
|SoftLayer among fastest growing tech firms in Metroplex|
DALLAS ~ In the ever-evolving realm of technology-based businesses in North Texas, Farmers Branch-based SoftLayer has found elite company.
According to the Dallas Business Journal, SoftLayer was named Wednesday as one of the five fastest growing tech companies in the region by the Metroplex Technology Business Council. Along with GENBAND, Goodman Networks, Mavenir Systems and Quickoffice, SoftLayer will be competing for the title of "Fastest Growing Tech Company" at the August 26 Tech Titans Awards Gala in Dallas.
Located on Alpha Road on the east side of Farmers Branch, SoftLayer is an up-and-coming data center firm that has already expanded twice since relocating to Farmers Branch in 2010. Overall, 35 North Texas technology companies are part of the Fast Tech list, which will be published in the Dallas Business Journal, September 2.
"The Cowgirl Legacy" comes to Historical Park's Summer Lecture Series August 30
FARMERS BRANCH ~ Detailing the history of notable women of the
western frontier, representatives of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, in Fort Worth will close out the Farmers Branch Historical Park's SummerLecture Series with "The Cowgirl Legacy" August 30.
The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Old Church on the Park grounds. The public is invited and admission is free. The Farmers Branch Historical Park is located at 2540 Farmers Branch Lane between Denton Drive and Ford Road. Call 972.406.0184 for more information.
Stars & Spokes registration now available online
FARMERS BRANCH ~ Registration for the inaugural Stars and Spokes bicycle race in Farmers Branch, to honor Texas' first responders and commemorate 9/11, is now available online at the event's website.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Texas Association of First Responders who seek to aid firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel injured in the line of duty. For more information and registration, log on at www.starsandspokes.com.
School zones active as kids return to school
FARMERS BRANCH ~ Mary Immaculate students returned to the classroom this morning while kids in Carrollton-Farmers Branch and Dallas ISDs enjoy their last few days of summer before classes resume on Monday, August 22.
Parish Episcopal School begins on Tuesday, August 23.
The Farmers Branch Public Works and Police Departments remind area motorists that those school zones will again be active and kids will be coming to and from their campuses in the mornings and afternoons.
Citizen Police Academy continues enrollment
JUSTICE CENTER ~ Designed to give citizens insight into the policies, positions and personnel of local law enforcement, the 22nd session of the Farmers Branch Citizen Police Academy is now accepting applications for classes, set to begin in September.
Established in 1998, the Academy has given hundreds of participants a combination of classroom instruction and "hands on" experience to demonstrate the hows and whys of law enforcement. The Academy meets for three hours on Thursday nights for 11 weeks. For more information, call 972.484.3620 or e-mail Lt. Mike Blum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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| Parting Shot |
Kids from the Farmers Branch Youth Leadership Program show off their homemade posters while welcome U.S. troops home from overseas at DFW International Airport earlier this summer. The program is offered through the Farmers Branch Community Recreation Center for kids ages 13 to 18. For more information, call the Rec Center at 972.247.4607.
In the Banner
Yellow Rose in Texas
It has been a hard summer on plantlife in north Texas but the tough but beautiful Earthkind roses at the national garden in Gussie Field Watterworth Park, near City Hall, are holding their own. In an effort to get roses planted all over Farmers Branch, City Manager Gary Greer is sponsoring a rose contest, featuring entry in the Annual Rose Show and a Garden Party in October for participants. Click on the "Keep Farmers Branch Rosy" box for more information.
Council Budget Wksp
- 3 pm @ City Hall
- LIVE on FBTV
Senior Center Dance
- Gary Lee
- 7 pm @ Senior Center
Planning & Zoning
- 7 pm @ City Hall
Historical Preserv. Bd.
- 7 pm @ Historical Pk.
Zoning Board of Adj.
- 7 pm @ City Hall
All meetings & events subject to change. Call 972.247.3131
Mark Your Calendars
Historical Park Lecture Series: Cowgirls
LBJ Info Meeting
Stars & Spokes
Pickups -n- Panels
Community Health Fair
All Play Ball
Movie in the Park
Crimes Against Seniors Seminar
National Night Out
Holiday Craft Fair
Annual Rose Show
Halloween in the Park
Town Hall Meeting
Look for information on these and other events in the coming weeks in BRANCH BULLETIN
Help Desk Support Specialist
Years with City:
I am the mother of four kids, including 15 year old triplets who constantly keep me running. I am the ultimate sports fan/team mom for football, baseball, golf and Allstar Cheerleading! I've recently taken up golf to spend more time with my wonderfully supportive husband of 20 years.
What Does She Like Most About Working for the City of Farmers Branch?
I like working for the City in providing IT support for my fellow co-workers, who in turn support all Farmers Branch citizens.
Right main lane of EB I-635 between Preston Rd and Hillcrest Rd
Aug 22 - 23 / 8 pm to 6 am
Left main lane of EB I-635 from east of Preston Rd to Coit Rd
Until Aug 26 / 8 pm to 6 am
Right frontage lane of EB I-635 from west of Welch to west of Inwood
Til Aug 30 / 24 hrs
Right main lane of WB I-635 from Hillcrest Rd to Preston Rd
Aug 23 - 24 / 8 pm to 6 am
Left main lane of WB I-635 from east of Preston Rd to to Coit Rd
Until Aug 26 / 8 pm to 6 am
Forest Lane closed WB between Denton Drive and Harry Hines Blvd. Traffic detoured to Harry Hines Blvd.
Aug 24 - Dec 1 / 24 hrs
Right frontage lane of WB I-635 from west of Marsh Lane to Webb Chapel Rd
Until Sept 7 / 24 hrs
Right frontage lane of WB I-635 from west of Josey to Metro Blvd
Til Sept 18 / 9 am to 3 pm
Right frontage lane WB I-635 between Inwood Rd and Midway Rd
Til Sept 30 / 24 hrs
Right NB lane of Webb Chapel at I-635
Til Sept 9 / 24 hrs
Right shoulder of cross street of NB I-635 at Rosser Road
Until Aug 21 / 7 am - 7 pm
Right lane of Marsh Lane at NB I-635 from High Meadow Dr to frontage road
Aug 22 - Sept 30 / 24 hrs
Left frontage lane of NB I-35 from Royal Lane to Crown Rd
Until Aug 2012 / 24 hrs
Traffic shift of I-35 to Joe Field Road cross street
Aug 22 - Sept 22 / 24 hrs
HOV LANE CLOSURES
Effective June 17
Beginning east of Luna Road and extending to just east of Hillcrest
Beginning east of Hillcrest Rd and extending just east of Josey Lane
About the City of Farmers Branch
Located on the northwest border of the City of Dallas, Farmers Branch is a vibrant and vital community with a residential population of 28,800 but a daytime population of 66,000. The City's 28 parks and lush greenbelts feature nationally-acclaimed, award-winning soccer fields, football facilities as well as baseball and softball complexes. The Farmers Branch Historical Park allows residents to step back in time and the John F. Burke Nature Preserve offers the opportunity to experience a real, 104-acre wilderness in the middle of one of the busiest metro areas of the world. The City's location in the geographical center of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, only 15 minutes away from both DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field, make Farmers Branch an ideal location for residents and for business. For more information about Farmers Branch, visit www.farmersbranch.info or call 972.919.2515.